NY Shuts Down Sham Fundraising Company That Took In Millions Of Donations For Breast Cancer “Research”

Campaign Center, Inc. was the principal fundraiser for Coalition Against Breast Cancer, which spent virtually no money on research, education or prevention.

Campaign Center, Inc. was the principal fundraiser for Coalition Against Breast Cancer, which spent virtually no money on research, education or prevention.

Between 2005 and 2011, the Coalition Against Breast Cancer raised around $10 million in donations intended for research to combat the disease, but authorities say that no such research ever occurred, and all that money went to pay for a grand total of 40 mammograms in seven years.

Yesterday, the office of New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman succeeded in getting a court to shut down Campaign Center, Inc., one of the state’s largest fundraising firms and the folks behind the sham charity.

The ruling [PDF] bars Campaign Center and its owner from charitable fundraising in the state, and orders both the company and owner to pay restitution to victims of the scam; the amount will be determined at a hearing scheduled for May 20. The Coalition Against Breast Cancer has already reached a separate agreement with the AG’s office to repay $1.55 million in restitution.

“Sham charities and professional fundraisers who line their pockets by tricking New Yorkers into thinking they are donating their hard earned money to fund breast cancer research and other charitable causes have no business operating in our state, and we will take action to shut them down,” Attorney General Schneiderman said. “This important decision reaffirms my office’s determination to use the powers available under New York law to ensure honesty and integrity in the field of charitable fundraising, and to protect New Yorkers.”

According to the AG’s investigation, Campaign Center was the principal fundraiser for the Coalition and kept up to 85% of the money raised for the supposed charity. Investigators learned that CABC, in spite of its purported goal of cancer research, outreach, and education, was not affiliated with any cancer institution, and spent less than one-half of 1% of donations on anything related to breast cancer prevention or detection.

For example, CABC raised $1.1 million in 2010, but spent only $632 on mammograms, and only 4% of the total donations on any of its alleged charitable programs.

Last fall, Schneiderman’s office released an in-depth report on breast cancer-related charities, calling on these organizations to be more transparent about how much of the donated money — or how much of the purchase price of a pink-for-cancer product — goes to actual research and prevention.